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      Student loan debt exceeds credit card debt

      In this day and age, so many jobs require a four-year college degree.

      That means more and more people are enrolling in college every year.

      With more people enrolling also comes more people who are applying for student loans, and now those loan numbers have reached an all-time high.

      The amount of student loans taken out last year exceeded the $100 billion mark, and that pushed the national student loan debt to more than $1 trillion.

      Believe it or not, that's more than the national credit card debt.

      While the student loan numbers are high nationwide, West Texas A&M Director of Financial Aid Jim Reed says that isn't true here.

      "Our average student indebtedness has remained fairly reasonable and some of the increase we've experienced has been through changes in eligibility and out increase in enrollment."

      Reed says much of the reason WT's numbers have stayed so low has to do with the steady Panhandle economy.

      "The housing market has just not suffered the way it has in many parts of the country and the other side of it is the employment has remained fairly constant here."

      Reed also says the conservative nature of people in the Panhandle and the affordability of tuition at WT also play a part.

      "We still remain one of the least expensive four year options in this part of the country. When you're talking about a difference literally of 10 or more thousand dollars in an annual cost, it makes a huge difference."

      In order to keep more and more students enrolling at WT, Reed says the university plans to keep their tuition costs down.

      Full time undergraduate students borrowed an average of more than $4,900 in 2010, and the portion on borrowers who are in default of their loans rose more than two percent in 2009.